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M5S files motion to sack probed culture undersecretary

Francesca Barracciu among four PD members under investigation

06 March, 17:42
M5S files motion to sack probed culture undersecretary (see previous).

(ANSA) - Rome, March 6 - The anti-establishment 5-Star Movement (M5S) on Thursday filed a motion demanding the resignation of Democratic Party (PD) MEP and Culture Undersecretary Francesca Barracciu who is under investigation for aggravated embezzlement.

Barracciu, who denies the allegations, is one of four PD members whose appointments as undersecretaries despite their being probed have prompted accusations of double standards against PD Premier Matteo Renzi.

Barracciu won PD primaries to run for governor of her native Sardinia in December but Renzi reportedly intervened to scotch her bid because of the probe. Constitutional Reform and Relations with Parliament Minister Maria Elena Boschi on Tuesday defended the PD's decision to keep the four in their jobs, saying they were innocent until proven guilty in Italy's three-tiered justice system.

Critics say similar arguments were used by ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi to defend MPs and government members under investigation, amid waves of funding scandals that have hit across the political spectrum.

They also say some politicians were forced out by alleged scandals without being probed, such as former agriculture minister Nunzia Di Giralomo.

Presenting the motion, the M5S said, sarcastically: "For the Renzi government, the government of the new, of turning over a new leaf, of getting things done, tapping people probed for crimes like fraud, embezzlement, aggravated embezzlement, and abuse of office clearly represents a strong signal of consistency with its message".

The M5S, led by firebrand comic-turned politician Beppe Grillo, took almost a quarter of the vote in the general election a year ago on a vow to kick out the corrupt old guard.